Jayadev Athreya

Professor, Mathematics and Comparative History of Ideas; Director, Washington Experimental Mathematics Lab
Jayadev Athreya Photo

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I've been at the University of Washington since 2015 as an associate professor in mathematics and the director of the Washington Experimental Mathematics Lab. My research investigates the fluid boundary between structure and randomness. We observe this every day: in one moment a flock of birds appears to be a disorganized rabble, in the next, it coalesces into a highly ordered winged squadron. The central theme of my research has been detecting this boundary (when it exists), but even more so, detecting the presence of structure in seemingly random systems, and vice-versa, detecting randomness in seemingly structured systems.

My research methodology is that of the mathematical field of dynamical systems, which can be broadly defined as the study of the time evolution of physical systems. My contributions to the field center around systems with deep connections to geometry and number theory, and in particular to developing and expanding fundamental analogies between the study of high-dimensional tilings (or lattices) and the study of low-dimensional dynamical systems.

I am deeply interested in decolonizing and liberating mathematics by making it open and welcoming to people from all backgrounds and cultures. I firmly believe that mathematics is one of the most universal of all fields of intellectual inquiry, with contributions and developments in many different cultural contexts, and by diverse groups of people, and I want to help build a diverse community of mathematical explorers here at the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest.